September 2009 Archives

Parking Permits Available for Metuchen Commuters

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Do you spend a big chunk of your day traveling back and forth to some other place to earn your daily wage? If so, would you like a convenient and safe parking spot in the commuter lots in Metuchen? If you're a Metuchen resident, says Tom Crownover of the Metuchen Parking Authority, there is no wait and you can get a permit simply by contacting the MPA online or in person at the Authority window at 25 Pearl Street each day before 3PM. You will need to show your driver's license, car registration and insurance IDs to complete the processing of your application. Simple, easy, convenient!

Hailey's is OPEN


Hailey's 006.jpg

Hailey's 008.jpg Hailey's 009.jpgHailey's opened!  I stopped in on Friday and spoke with co-owner Jodie Flynn. They're open with a minimal menu for now but the place looks fabulous and everyone there is as excited as everyone is in town.  Amy Brooks will feature a few pieces of original glass art inside the resturant as well - there are 100 nice community stories surrounding the Pub.  The grand opening will be announced for later in the month but be sure to stop by during Saturday's fair.  The pub's design is the vision of Christina Coutsoubelis Marcille of Spatial Forum in Metuchen.

New Shows From the Forum Start This Weekend--including ROCKTOBER!

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NEONWEBHEADER.jpgThe Forum Arts Theater is back in action and starting off a busy fall season! The fun begins with a hilarious version of RAPUNZEL, written by Marta Kauffman and David Chase, two of the creators/writers of TV classic FRIENDS. Step out of the predicted rain and see  Rapunzel A Musical Fairy Tale at The Forum Theatre Arts Center Saturday and Sunday at 11AM. All seats are $14 with discounts for groups of 10 or more can be purchased on line at or by calling the Forum Theatre box office at 732.548.5600. Meet the players after the show. Sunday is even Grandparents' Day, so grandparents get in free when they accompany a young theatergoer of their choice! Limit 2 per visit! Rapunzel plays every weekend through October at 11AM,

And for rockers of all ages, ROCKTOBER begins with tributes to The Who and Led Zeppelin! Check out their site for more information and ticket purchases.

Pay It Forward--Making Book on Weathering Financial Crisis

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I love books--I love the way they look, feel, smell, sound (not sure about the tasting part of this equation) but my days of walking out of any bookstore, new or old,  carting many dollars' worth of books is on hold until the financial clouds clear away. I know that a lot of friends are doing the same--so I love this story. Take a look! I love that this kind of thing is going on out in the world. When things get tough, something's gotta give and it won't be the mortgage or the groceries.

Some good soul in NYC has been collecting books and giving them out gratis to stressed-out commuters. She is determined to inject a little intellectual stimulation and cultural joy into what could otherwise be yet another grey and depressing stomp through the worlds of unemployment or just a dreary workday. Brilliant. Free books! Who can resist?

The new principal of Metuchen High School will be officially hired in July 2010 but the process, the search and the search committee itself, came under investigation by the public at the Board of Education meeting last night. Community members voiced their concerns over the fact that there would be no parent representatives on the search committee to fill this important academic post in the district.

Although it was stated several times that the Board will not make up the bulk of the participating members of the search committee, the public continued to stress the Board to ensure that the committee would be comprised of a variety of people--some with educational backgrounds and others with expertise in other fields. The pursuit of a professional job search consultant was offered at one point, but this idea was deemed not within the present budget for planned advertisements (at present, Superintendent Terri Sinatra gauged that $5,000 was available for placing employment ads in nationally-read periodicals like the New York Times).

In keeping up with this debate, which will continue throughout the process, Metuchen Matters will debut an educational forum, Education Matters, as an integral part of our community discussion process. With the principal search, the upcoming budget discussions for next year and the enlarged enrollment in district schools creating new avenues for conversation, we expect this to become an important tool in the voicing of the opinions of all community members on these and other topics.  Click here to enter the forum.

Submitted by Blue Dog Media Services:


Brian Keenan, a Metuchen resident and businessman, was recently honored as a recipient of the 2009 Forty Under 40  award, by NJ Biz.


Keenan, who lives on Lee Court, founded Real Estate Advisory and Development Services six years ago. A not-for-profit real estate firm, READS has been an advocate and supporter of charter schools across New Jersey since its inception, and in the past year has been expanding its efforts to include affordable housing throughout New Jersey and in Delaware as well.

"I am at once humbled and deeply honored to receive this award," said Keenan. "With all the worthy causes and dedicated people in the business world and in the nonprofit sector, I never expected that I would be singled out for an honor like this. This award has really moved me."

Metuchen Travel Soccer Recap

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Submitted by Coach Craig Stolarski


Metuchen Travel Soccer Club started the Fall Season by having most of their teams participate in South Brunswick, Bridgewater or Piscataway Tournaments;


South Brunswick Tournament:

Metuchen Fire U8 team competed in the first tournament resulting in a great experience for the team.  The Fire is coached by Scott Derector. 

Check out the new EMS PSA

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A new appeal for donations for the EMS has prompted them to go hi-tech--with a video Public Service Announcement which is presently running on METV. After a brief introduction from Mayor Vahalla, EMS President Lisa Garris asks for donations while an example of an emergency rescue situation is played out behind her. It drives home both the importance of the EMS' work in town and how donations will affect the community through their efforts. Check out this link for more information or METV for airings, which are at various times throughout the scheduled viewing day.

Uniform Crime Report Improves in 2008 for Metuchen

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The yearly Uniform Crime Report has been made public by the State of New Jersey and Metuchen fared quite well, dropping to 10 violent crimes reported last year from the 2007 report of 18 such incidents and from 278 to 260 non-violent crimes. The short-staffed police department was able to support a full staff in 2008, which Police Chief James Keane thinks was a huge help in achieving these improved numbers.


Councilman Richard Weber reacted to the news: "Once again our Metuchen Police Department has done an excellent job and has reduced both violent and non-violent crime in our Borough. The statewide average drop in violent crime was 1 percent from 2007 to 2008, but Metuchen saw an even greater decrease of 1.8 percent. More striking is that from 2007 to 2008 there was a statewide increase of 3 percent in non-violent crime.  However, in Metuchen we saw a decrease of just over 1 percent. I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the Chief and all the members of the Metuchen Police Department who have been working very hard.  These statistics show that their efforts are working. Keep up the great work, guys and gals!"

Borough Cracks Down on Delinquent Landlord - Again


Middlesex Ave Bldg 002.jpgThe property on 550-564 Middlesex Ave, next to Friendly's, is perplexing if nothing more. Final site plan approval had been granted to developer Ken McPherson of K&W Realty out of Bay Head in 2000. Construction started soon after. We're now approaching 2010 and still the building sits incomplete with long periods of no work at all.


On August 25th, Borough attorney David Frizell, sent the following notice to K&W:



YMCA Sponsors Garbolino Memorial 5K At Roosevelt Park Sept 26

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Metuchen Edison Woodbridge YMCA is hosting its annual Janice Garbolino Memorial  5K Walk/Run on Saturday, September 26th at Roosevelt Park in Edison.  Registration is now being accepted at YMCA branches.  You can also register online and download directions from their website:  

First 250 registered participants receive a t-shirt and gift bag.    Entry Fees are  $15.00 - Pre-registration by 9/24/09, and $20.00 - after 9/24 and on Race Day,  $60.00 for a Team of 5 Registrated runners.

ESL Conversation Group Beginning at Library

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In the diverse community in which we live, it's not uncommon to hear conversations in all different languages passing between people at the mall, in schools, in the library . . . Yes, we know you're not supposed to talk LOUDLY in the library but you will be able to practice your English as a Second Language skills at a conversation group there, starting September 24 through November 26, 2009. Geared towards adults, the program will be held from 10:30AM to 12 PM and will consist of one topic to be discussed entirely in English each week. All students must be over 18 years of age.

This opportunity is sponsored by the Literary Programs of New Jersey.  It hopes to fill a necessary void by providing "real life" materials and an integrated literacy curriculum to those just learning the language, offering help in everyday situations such as parenting. To join, please complete the registration form and send it to the Library.

From the Raconteur:

8 PM, Fri. Sept 18
Staged Reading/Film Screening

Cryptid is a term which refers to a creature whose existence has been suggested but lacks scientific support. This includes purported organisms such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, as well as extinct species claimed by cryptozoologists to be living today, such as dinosaurs.

By Alex Dawson
Performed by Dawson & Laurence Mintz
w/Live Sound Effects
Jules Verne meets John Steinbeck in this whale of a tale about a small town elbow bender named William Drinker Grant, who falls, one foul night, into the water adjacent to a divey hideaway known as Lakeside Lounge. After drunkenly choosing to swim the length of the lake and spend the night on its opposing bank, he returns the next day with a story no one can believe. With surprising commitment and fortitude, Drinker Grant trades out fixations, sobering up and dedicating his life to proving that something with "the head of a horse and the body of a snake" lives in the black, tarry water behind the bar.

A Documentary Directed by Randy M. Salo

World War II veteran Jim Green's lifelong visions have led him to what he believes is evidence ("high-tech" fossils and tailed cadavers) of an advanced civilization of reptilian humanoids that predate man. Fulfilling a childhood promise to publicize his grandfather's unorthodox theories, filmmaker Salo brings the case to a skeptical, and frequently enraged, scientific community that insists Green's speculations are a danger to society.FREE! Comp wine & flips (a flip is a mixed drink containing a beaten egg).

The Tree Whisperer

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TreeWhispererimage.jpegThe Shade Tree Commission is happy to present:


The Secrets of the Tree Whisperer: 

 A holistic approach to tree health and healing

A seminar for open-minded people who love trees and plants.


When:  Tuesday, September 22nd, 7 - 9 pm

Where: Metuchen Public Library

Cost:    FREE!  No registration necessary



So Much Done, So Much Yet to Do: Metuchen Town Development


Even the sign around the District area, with its colorful announcements about the bounties coming to the old Stop & Shop site, makes the area look better. It's a nicer way to enter the town on 27--it looks like the promised future is truly coming after all. With all the improvements on Main Street (including the prettified Variety Village, the jewelers being built next door, the repairs to Lucca's underway, the new Irish pub about to open and the improved pizza shop facade), Metuchen is looking a little spiffier.

High Street Burglary - Be Sure to Close and Lock your Windows


A High St home was broken into the other night and a reader from the neighborhood wanted to share the story with the community with hopes of promoting awareness and precaution.


The home was broken into at night while the family slept.  The burglar climbed through the screen of an open first floor kitchen window - right from the deck in the backyard.  No one was hurt but two laptops were stolen and the family was obviously shaken to realize this could happen while they were in the house.


Superintendent Terri Sinatra called it a "meaningful and important task"--and clearly the hundred or so community members who attended her Tuesday night forum on Phase 2 of the High School Principal Hiring process agreed completely. After the Phase 1 announcement of this process at the end of the school year in June, this Phase 2 opportunity for the community-at-large to weigh in with what they think are the most important requirements for the best possible candidate for this position precedes the final  Phase--a Discussion of Process that will continue at the next Board of Education meeting.

Introducing the Candidates for Borough Council


As we gear-up for the November 3rd Council Elections, here's a re-run of a story originally posted on May 13, 2008.  It introduces the candidates.  Look for weekly features on the upcoming election.


Metuchen is gearing-up for the next Borough Council race.  The terms of two council members will expire at the end of the year - Richard Weber and Richard Dyas.  Mr. Weber is seeking re-election and two additional worthy residents have committed their time and service to our town and have joined him in the race:  Democratic candidate Sheri-Rose Rubin and Republican candidate Joseph Vassallo. Councilman Dyas is not seeking re-election.


This first post is to introduce you to the candidates.  Each has provided some info on themselves as well as an overview of what they might bring to office. 


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Vassallo1.jpeg Thumbnail image for Weber_Rubin0509.jpeg

Gallery Artists Wanted for 2010 Exhibitions

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Thumbnail image for RotundaGalleryInsignia.jpegAre you an artist interested in exhibiting at the Rotunda Gallery at Borough Hall?  A prospectus is now available and the board is hoping for your submission!


You can find hard copies at the Gallery and at various locations around town:  The Raconteur, the YMCA, What's the Scoop, and the UPS store.  Or click here to download a copy. Submissions are due to the Cultural Arts Commission by September 30.

Wanted: A bit of earth to save a Metuchen Centenarian


Rink house on Graham 007.100.jpgFollowing is a story submitted by Metuchen resident, Jirapon Rader-Chambers. It's about a very old home at the foot of Graham Avenue, just across the foot bridge near Spring Street, and the man who lived there.  It's a house that lets me to daydream into the past; one of those great old homes that looks pretty much like it must have 100 years ago - not fancy and ornate but the home of what I imagine was a simple, hardworking family.


The man who lived there for over 70 years recently died.  Jirapon is hoping to find a new home for his beloved vine - a plant with roots in Metuchen soil for the better part of a century.  


Here's her story about Mr. Charles Rink, a little bit about his good solid life and the window into Metuchen's past that he shared.  And, of course, his grapevine....

Gov Corzine in Edison this Sunday to sign bill for Troops

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From Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan


'On Sunday, September 13, 3:00 p.m., Governor Corzine will sign the Troops to College bill sponsored by Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan (D-South Plainfield), Assemblyman Peter Barnes (D-Edison) and others, at the Middlesex County College Quad, Edison, NJ.

This bill establishes the Troops to College Program. This bill requires every public college and university in New Jersey to create one central office to administer all Veterans programs. The purpose of the program is to help veterans make the transition from battlefield to the college classroom.

Forum Arts Center Open House, Part Two, Sunday night

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                    forumbanner.jpg                     At the last Forum Arts Center open house on September 2nd, the faculty sat, dangling their legs over the lip of the stage at the front of the theater. They answered questions, exchanged emails, met some prospective students and engaged all interested parties with the details of the new Forum Arts Center creative arts programs to be offered this fall. If you were among those who were off galivanting [for Labor Day weekend, unable to attend that week, here's another chance for you!

Acting MHS principal Bruce Peragallo to discuss his goals

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As the town gears-up for the new principal selection process, acting principal Bruce Peragallo is working to guide MHS through the upcoming school year.  He'll address the MHS PTO at the September meeting.  All are invited to attend.


Monday, September 14th at 6:30 pm

Metuchen High School library

Honoring those lost on 9/11 - An evening remembrance


From the planners of Metuchen's Patriots Day Vigil:  


911.jpegTomorrow marks the 8th anniversary of the 9-11 terror attacks on America. We have decided to hold our vigil honoring those lost at 7:00pm instead of in the morning. It is our hope that evening will allow more people to join in this important remembrance.
     Patriots Day Vigil: Friday 09-11-2009 at 7:00pm
     Freedom Plaza (Main & Woodbridge)

You are invited to share your ideas about the qualifications that matter most for the Metuchen High School Principal.  What do you want the selection committee to consider? 


·                 Tuesday, September 15th

·                 7:30pm in the high school cafeteria


All community members are welcome and encouraged to attend.  The next principal could be at the helm for 25 years, what do you want for our high school?


Citizen action groups are circulating a letter they ask you personalize and mail to the Board. In it, you are encouraged to ask for:

  1. Community and Board participation in the selection process
  2. The search be national in scope, seeking to bring out the best and broadest possible pool of candidates; and
  3. That certain criteria be adopted in choosing the principal. 

Here is the letter template they suggest:  mm_New Principal Letter_0909.doc

Alex Dawson Wants You! Auditions For A CLOCKWORK ORANGE

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5 - 8 PM, Mon & Tues, Sept 14 & 15

Male & Female (18 & Up)
The Studio Theatre @ Middlesex County College
2600 Woodbridge Ave, Edison

Prepared monologue and cold reading of sides

Belching smokestacks, colossal clock cogs, the ribbed wreckage of a crashed zeppelin, all under-lit by the blazing Fires of Industry, Dawson's steam-punk version of Anthony Burgess's A CLOCKWORK ORANGE features a soundtrack of Beethoven symphonies screened through the fractious filters of punk, thrash, and techno, then scribble scratched by a goggle-eyed DJ sitting atop a scaffolded clock tower that rises fifteen feet above the boards. Using an aesthetic he describes as "Quadrophenia meets Brave New World," Dawson collaborates with mod Finnish fashion designer Anu Susi, abandoning the sleazy seventies vibe of Kubrick's film for a sort of industrial elegance: tailored suits, swine snouted gas masks, huge buckled boots and, of course, the iconic bowler. Coming this October! For more info, click Clockwork Orange: The Play.

Teen Advisory Board Offers New Programs for Fall

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The Teen Advisory Board (TAB) of the Metuchen Library is proud to announce a new season of programs for all Metuchenites in grades 6-12 at  While at the website, teens can vote for the American Library Association's Top 10 Teen Books for 2009 which will be announced during "Teen Read Week" in October.  All voting takes place online until September 18.  

Anyone who is interested in joining the TAB for this year can learn about this community organization at the Library's teen website by clicking "TAB" on the top menu bar.  The first meeting of the school year will take place on Wednesday, September 23 at 7:30 PM at the Library.  Contact the Young Adult Librarian at for more information.

Welcome Back Robert Hegyes in New Forum Production


Hedyes.jpegMetuchen's own Robert Hegyes is set to star in a new comedy at the Forum this fall (opening October 27th):



(or if 50 is the new 30, why didn't somebody tell my ASS!)

-A hilarious new comedy by Eric Cohen, Directed by Peter J. Loewy


Does that mean 70 is the new 50 and dead is the new 90?  According to your unemployed son currently residing on your living room Barcalounger, is 24 the new 12? Eric Cohen's new play, The New 30, takes a hilarious, irreverent look at our culture's obsession with looking and acting decades younger than our real age. Check out the Forum website for tickets and additional information.

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